The Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival is held each August partly so that it doesn’t have to compete with other celebrations in bigger cities on the West Coast, which hold their Pride events in June. But Eugene puts on a fun-filled Pride of its own, and this year will be no different, from the official Pride activities to other local events.
At Eugene’s Pride, which is Aug. 11, you will find a family friendly event with a lot of local ties and vendors. “We can call it a Eugene celebration,” says Vincent Mays, Pride vice president. “We can make it local; we can tailor it to how we want to do it.”
According to Mays and Bill Sullivan, Pride president, this year’s local sponsors include Hop Valley, Off the Waffle and Cornbread Cafe. Last summer, Hop Valley released a beer to support LGBTQ organizations, and Sullivan says the brewery has other Pride-themed merchandise available all year.
Sullivan and Mays say the Pride festival will be different this year because there will be a live broadcast from local radio station Star FM 102.3 with interviews from local politicians. This year will also be the first time that the festival puts out official merchandise for festival-goers to purchase, the profits from which will go to a scholarship fund for LGBTQ youth.
Sullivan and Mays say that there will be more music this year than in years past. They also say that there will be a “queer yoga” event to start off the day, as well as a bike valet throughout the day.
“What’s more Eugene than queer yoga?” Mays asks.
Along with official, sanctioned Pride events, there are some local businesses that will be in on the action and host unofficial events in conjunction with the celebration.
On Friday night before the festival, Blairally Vintage Arcade will host a pre-Pride block party along with local nonprofit activist groups Trans*Ponder and the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire (ISCEE). The event will be open to all ages until 9 pm.
Cowfish bar will host the unofficial “official” Pride after-party. According to bar owner Shawn DiFiore, Cowfish Cafe & Club has been hosting the after-party for years. This year during Pride weekend, frequent Cowfish drag performers Glamazons and Cookie Glaciers will be performing.
“Even though we’re not a gay bar, we wanted to create a space where people felt free to be themselves,” DiFiore says. “We’ve always been very pro-people, we love all people.”
In addition to the Pride events, a new LGBTQ bar in town, Spectrum, will be celebrating its grand opening, see our story this issue.
Pride takes place from 12-6 pm Saturday, Aug. 11 at Alton Baker Park. More information can be found at eugene-pride.org. More information about events happening at Cowfish and Blairally can be found on their Facebook pages. Pride is FREE with a $5 suggested donation.